Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Raise Tolerance and Lower Expectations

After complaining about our teenage sons' immaturity and irresponsibility, a friend gave me this wise advice, "When it comes to teenagers, you need to raise your tolerance and lower your expectations. Otherwise, you'll always be upset."

That's not such bad advice for the holiday season. Many of us have high expectations of holiday family gatherings. These too high expectations often go unfulfilled for a variety of reasons. Holiday stress strains already fragile relationships. Someone gets a cold or the flu. The gifts we expected aren't under the Christmas tree.

Because there is no such thing as a perfect family, the myth of the perfect holiday is also unrealistic. We are human and, therefore, have faults and flaws. We make mistakes. We say things we don't mean or speak too quickly when we're angry.

Having realistic expectations of the holidays can help. So can raising our tolerance of each other's idiosyncrasies and faults. Then, we are better able to "roll with the punches" and ride out difficult or trying holiday celebrations.

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